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Delimiting the Chinese Realm: International Borders in Eleventh-Century North Asia

October 29, 2009 - 7:30pm
Building 200, Room 303
2009-2010 FALL SILK ROAD LECTURE SERIES PRESENTS: Nicolas Tackett, Assistant Professor, History Department, U.C. Berkeley In the eleventh century, China embarked to an unprecedented degree on a series of boundary demarcation projects. Men were sent into the field to dig trenches and erect mounds to mark China's borders with the Tangut Xia and Khitan Liao states in the north (as well as with Vietnam and a series of tribal confederacies in the south). Simultaneously, cartographers were commissioned to produce topographic maps of the frontier regions for storage in state archives. What prompted this sudden interest in delimiting so precisely the extent of the Chinese realm? How did these boundary lines differ in fundamental ways from the Great Walls of past dynasties, reflecting novel notions of sovereignty? By analyzing how decisions were made on where to lay China's northern border, what can we learn about how China viewed and defined itself?
Event Sponsor: 
Center for East Asian Studies, Silk Road Foundation and CREEES.
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